But, of course, no matter how many people say positive things, I can't help but fixate on the few negative comments I've gotten.
One guy was pissed off even before he was halfway through the line on Friday. The line was out the door and he was yelling at me from way back there, finding fault with the fact that we weren't able to accommodate people as quickly as we should perhaps have been able to. And while it's true that we're not able to work through a line as fast as we'll be able to in a month or so, most people understand that we've just opened and are cutting us lots of slack. (Thanks for that, if this applies to you.)
Once this guy got up to the front, he gave me three separate orders, paying separately for each, and then ended up calling back twice to complain. I felt bad that he wasn't satisfied with the experience, but couldn't help but wonder if his negativity at the outset didn't more or less guarantee that he would end up disappointed.
It's a fine line to walk. Yes, it's true that for the moment, we're probably understaffed when the crush comes and the lines are out the door. But my guys are learning and with repetition, we'll get faster and more efficient, and the same number of cooks will soon be able to handle those lines much faster. So, do I hire another person or two, and then let them go once we get faster and smoother? That doesn't seem very nice or fair. Or do I muddle through with what I believe will ultimately be the right number of employees, creating some long lines at peak lunch hours and perhaps alienating some customers?
Then today, I found a couple reviews of us on Yelp, and rather than be happy about the two fairly positive ones, I'm obsessing about the negative one, which the guy also Twittered.
So, even though there's been plenty of good--and I'm fully aware that there's no way public comment is ever going to be 100% positive--I'm finding myself being overly sensitive to the bad. It's a dangerous tendency because when one person says something--that the food's too salty, for example--my response is to OVER react to that specific criticism, instruct my cooks to scale way back on the salt and pepper, and then what'll inevitably happen is that we'll start getting comments that the food is bland and flavorless. Either that, or I'll end up telling my employees one thing one day and then telling them the opposite the next, which will result in them losing confidence in me and eroding my authority.
So even though my head knows that we're doing things right, that we can't possibly please everyone, and that the vast majority are giving me big thumbs up as they wipe the juice off their chins, I can't help but get somewhat emotional and panicky as a result of every negative comment that I hear or read.
Not sure what the solution is, other than to smile, apologize, and be gracious, take the advice for what its worth (some of the criticism is, of course, valid, and offers opportunities for us to improve), and just keep doing what we're doing knowing that we're getting better every day.
Beyond that, I guess I just need to grow a thicker skin. Or stop doing web and Twitter searches and finding this stuff.